Heavenly Ski Resort: Travel hacks for snowboarding South Lake Tahoe

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Sometimes you just need a white Christmas and where better than Tahoe?

The hubby and I were lucky to spend the week before Christmas playing in the snow on both sides of the Lake Tahoe, and I have to say, there’s just something magical about that mountain.

We had one of those weeks where, not only does everything just go as planned, if it didn’t, it’s because the universe was wowing us with an even better plan.

A prime example of this was when we realized we were going to need snow chains to get up the hill toward the California Lodge, and right then, a car identical to mine drops one chain off their tire right in front of us. That actually happened.

Since our week in Tahoe went so swimmingly (I feel like I should say skiingly…), here are some of our top Heavenly Tahoe travel hacks.

Heavenly Trail Map

How to Skip the Ticket Line at Heavenly

The line to buy tickets at Heavenly was an hour to an hour and a half wait–on a weekday!

The ticket window on the far left is the designated EpicDay Express Ticket Pick-Up lane, which rewards those who have thought ahead with a line that seriously took me ten minutes total.

If you forget this hack, you can even purchase online while walking up to the window and still save hours, with the lowest price guaranteed and less time spent in the ticket line.

The best part is, once your ticket is picked up, you can keep your ticket and load it with more days online, avoiding a return trip to the ticket window altogether.

Free Parking at Heavenly

The ticket window is located in Heavenly Village at the base of the gondola. There’s garage parking available for $20 per day, but arrive early. Parking here can be challenging unless you’re staying at one of the nearby hotels. To save money, we parked at a meter while picking up our lift tickets and then headed over to the California base where parking is free and–at least during the weekdays–plentiful. Stagecoach has a sizeable parking area. Not as large as Heavenly Lodge. It fills up rapidly. Boulder Lodge is the secret haven. Not only can you buy tickets there, it has a much smaller parking area that never seems to fill up. If you’re skiing a half day, and driving to the lodge, this is where you should go, as it’s much closer to the lodge. Late in the season, Boulder Lodge can be a pain because the run down gets extra slushy, but it is a great place to tailgate afterward, if you’re into that sort of thing… If you park in one of these alternative options, make sure to take the gondola at least once. It’s a 2.4 mile ride with epic views of the mountains and lake.

Avoid Long Lift Lines

If you’re a ride or die snowboarder traveling solo or with a small group, consider utilizing the singles line so you can spend more time riding and less time waiting. The singles line is usually on the far left of the line and allows for people riding alone to hop into one of the empty seats with other groups. If you’re traveling with one other person, you will often both get the same chair anyways, as most chairs seat 5-6. If you’re using the singles line while traveling with others, be prepared to split from your group if needed. You don’t want to be that person that holds up the line and inconveniences others for your own agenda.

Maximize your EpicDay Pass


Your EpicDay pass comes with a few awesome perks, including tracking your riding stats, accessing photos from the mountains’ own pro photographers, view webcams and trail maps and more, all accessible from your EpicMix account.

1. Reload your EpicDay Card for Future Visits

As stated above, you can reload your existing EpicDay card online for future trips and head straight to the slopes without waiting in line. When purchasing, simply select “Have a Card” online, choose the existing card #, and assign your new lift ticket.

2. Track your Riding Stats and Join Challenges

Track your vertical feet, earn pins and compete for time against your friends or yourself. You can also tap into competitions and races against other users and even the famous Lindsey Vonn. They’re also introducing GPS functionality allowing your to see your location on the trail map. Daily challenges, event challenges and season challenges are all there to make sure you always stay…ummm… challenged.

3. Get Professional Photos

EpicMix photographers are scattered across the mountain at the top Vail Resorts. Activate your EpicMix account and share your photos on Facebook for free, or access all of your high-resolution images this winter for just $50. All images. All season. All resorts.

Got any travel hacks or insider tips for skiing or snowboarding Heavenly? Share them in the comments!

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